PRINCESS ANNE — A select number of innovative and successful small farm operations in Northern and Central Virginia have been identified for inclusion in the 2016 “Explore New Farm Income Opportunities” bus tour. The two-day excursion, beginning Monday, Aug. 8, is presented by the UMES Small Farm Outreach Initiative and includes an overnight stay, educational materials, and lunch for both days.
Tour participants will meet in the Bowie Comfort Inn parking lot and depart for the tour at 8 a.m. sharp on Aug. 8. With each stop, participants will get an overview of what services and/or products each farming venture offers as well as a birds-eye view of the agricultural practices that make them successful. Major topics of discussion will be centered on direct marketing, value-added products, agri-tourism, specialty “niche” crops, sustainable farming practices, woodland opportunities, natural resource conservation and more.
The tour will end at the Bowie Comfort Inn parking lot around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
“We are so pleased with the diversity of farm stops we have this year; we literally have something for everyone,” said Berran Rogers, small farm programs coordinator. “For those who are interested in farming or who are just getting started, this tour will open their eyes to the many possibilities.”
The UMES Small Farm Outreach Initiative is a grant-funded project supported by the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach and commissioned to help small-scale and underserved farmers prosper and become successful agriculture entrepreneurs through education, training and outreach. The bus tour is sponsored in part by the USDA Renewable Resources Extension Act and Future Harvest. The registration fee is $90 per person for single private accommodation or $70 per person for double accommodation. To register online, visit: 2016smallfarmbustour.eventbrite.com. All registrations and payments must be received by Wednesday, Aug. 3. Early registration is recommended, as space is limited to 40 participants.
For more information about select tour stops during the “Exploring New Farm Income Opportunities” bus tour or the Small Farm Outreach Initiative, contact Rogers at 410-651-6070 or 6693 or Candy Hefel, farm management agent, at 443-944-5254.
— Suzanne Waters Street, M.B.A., is an agriculture communications specialist at UMES.